News / Africa

Rights Groups Challenge Kenyan Remark on Displaced People

Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, centre, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, left, stands with Gen Julius Waweru Karangi, right, Chief of the Defence Forces, as they watch the passing out parade and fly over by the Kenyan Air Force, Oct. 20, 2013.
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, centre, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, left, stands with Gen Julius Waweru Karangi, right, Chief of the Defence Forces, as they watch the passing out parade and fly over by the Kenyan Air Force, Oct. 20, 2013.
Gabe Joselow
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said all people displaced by post-election violence in 2007 and 2008 have been resettled.  Rights groups say that is untrue and accuse the president of trying to paper over the crimes for which he is facing charges at the International Criminal Court.  

It was a passing remark, delivered Sunday toward the end of a speech marking Kenya’s Mashujaa Day - a holiday honoring the heroes of independence.
President Kenyatta was describing how his administration was committed to moving beyond a “dark, backward and dangerous past” in which Kenya was torn apart by ethnic violence.

“We have already made important strides in this regard, through equitable appointments in the Cabinet and public service. We have also resettled all internally displaced persons and are doing all we can to allow them to integrate back into society,” he said.

Kenyatta was referring, in part, to more than 500,000 people who were displaced during the inter-ethnic fighting that followed the disputed presidential election in 2007. He and his deputy, William Ruto, are facing separate trials at the ICC for their alleged roles orchestrating the violence, which killed more than 1,100 people.
But rights groups say despite Mr. Kenyatta’s claim, thousands are still living in camps for internally displaced people.

Keffa Karuoya is the program officer with the Internal Displacement Policy and Advocacy Center in Kenya. “We had a meeting just about two weeks ago with all the leadership of the IDPs in the remaining camps. There were about 46 camps, and each camp was ranging between 50 and 100-plus,” Karuoya said.

The Kenyatta administration had previously announced an initiative to resettle all remaining internally displaced people by September 20. Families were to receive cash payments worth $4,700 (400,000 Kenyan Shillings) to help them find new homes.

Nick Omitto, chief executive officer of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Eldoret, Kenya, says the program has been ineffective and that thousands of people are still displaced.

He suspects Kenyatta’s remarks are part of an agenda to “hoodwink” the ICC into thinking the victims of the violence have been compensated.

“It’s creating an image to tell the world the country is at peace and there are no political IDPs on the streets and the post election violence of 2007 has settled - the dust has settled - but I believe that that’s not the true picture,” Omitto stated.

President Kenyatta is due to attend his trial at the ICC court in The Hague November 12.

Trial chamber judges ruled Friday the Kenyan president would not have to attend all of the proceedings in person, but his presence is required for the opening and closing statements of all parties and when victims testify.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs